THE council plans to spend nearly £ 2.7million to turn an empty building near the Royal Pavilion into 10 or 11 affordable homes for people in need of temporary accommodation.
The Regency Townhouse, next to the grounds of the Royal Pavilion, was previously used as council offices and then by a local charity.
The proposal comes after the former occupant, charity Team Domenica, left the premises due to the town hall’s plan to convert the building into a doctor’s office.
These plans then failed.
The latest program will need to be approved by two city council committees in Brighton and Hove, starting next week when the housing committee is due to meet.
Advisers have been told that the £ 2.7million budget for the project includes a payment of £ 890,000 for the land and building.
The sum – purported to be a slight discount to the property’s market value – would be paid into the council’s “general fund” from the “housing income account”, which is funded by rent from tenants.
If councilors approve the project – the last word resting with the council’s policy and resources committee – about 10 months of construction could begin next May.
And the first tenants could start living in the building – 62-63 Old Steine and 3-4 Palace Place – in April 2023.
A report says that if the city council doesn’t convert the building into its own accommodation, it could end up being sold to private developers for apartments.
A commercial sale could fetch £ 1million, but it was likely that none of the apartments would be much needed affordable housing.
And while the building sits empty, the cost to secure, maintain and repair the site, as well as paying for utilities and commercial tariffs, was around £ 40,000 per year.
The 11-unit proposal would include nine one-bedroom and two two-bedroom apartments.
The nine one-bedroom apartments would consist of five for a single tenant and four for couples.
The two-bed apartments would be designed for three people and could accommodate young families.
At current prices, rents would be around £ 135 per week for a one bedroom apartment and £ 177 for two bedrooms.
The conversion is expected to cost around £ 1.2million, with an additional £ 410,000 earmarked for ‘zero carbon’ work – and around £ 160,000 for professional fees.
The council proposes to spend £ 530,000 from its ‘right to buy’ receipts, £ 410,000 from the ‘sustainability and renovation reserve’, £ 345,000 from the sale of land in Braypool Lane, Patcham, and near £ 1.4million from the housing income account.
More than 2,000 people live locally in temporary accommodation, much of which is rented to private landlords, while around 200 people per night stay in emergency accommodation.
The housing committee is due to deliver its verdict on the project at a meeting scheduled for 4 p.m. next Wednesday (June 23), which is expected to be webcast on the council’s website.
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This notice was published: 2021-06-18 05:30:48